Niles teen places third in senior rabbit showmanship contest

Published 9:01 am Tuesday, August 17, 2021

BERRIEN SPRINGS — It was a bunny bonanza Monday at the Berrien County Youth Fair.

Rabbits and their handlers packed the show tent for the annual Rabbit Show, which saw Ross Clare, of Sodus, take home overall grand champion showman honors.

Niles resident Paul Pirri placed third in senior showmanship. Pirri, a homeschool junior, has been showing rabbits for five years. In 2018, he was named reserve grand champion.

Knowing that there is always room for improvement keeps Pirri coming back to compete every year.

“Today, I placed third in my division, and three years ago, I was reserve grand champion,” Pirri said. “I’ve come back and I’ve gone forward, so just always knowing that I can’t control the situation has kept me coming back.”

The absence of the fair last year has Pirri eager to enjoy the experience this year.

“I am very hungry,” Pirri said. “I’m just hungry for everything. Exhibiting, walking around, just being here. I’m on the royalty court this year, so that’s been really fun, too.”

Rabbits are not the only species Pirri will be exhibiting this year.

“I’m starting cats and dogs this year,” he said. “That’s something very new to me, and market as well. I know my friends have chickens. I’ve been doing chicken for about two years. Those are other things that I do.”